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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

CHAPTER VIII
THE   CLAIM TO   "COMPLETE  INDEPENDENCE "
THE Armistice and the end of the Great War when it at last came may have taken other people in Egypt somewhat by surprise, but not so the Nationalist party. Indeed some credit must be given to their perspicacity for having realised in good time that, when peace came, the fate of Egypt would be in the hands of the Allied and Associated Powers. They quickly changed their orientation and made a close study of all the utterances of Allied statesmen, and especially of Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson, which could be used in support of Egypt's claim to a full share in the fruits of a victorious war waged for the world's freedom, and to the unfettered exercise of the right of self-determination repeatedly promised to all the small nations. Before the war they had been content to demand self-government and a larger share in the administration of their country. Now "complete independence5' was their cry, and an immediate notice to Great Britain to quit. They could fairly claim that they had waited patiently until Great Britain was released from the overwhelming anxieties of war before raising their voices, but they lost no time in doing so as soon as the war was over.
Two days after the Armistice, i.e., on November 13th, 1918, Saad Pasha Zaghlul and some of his friends called at the Residency and in the name of the Egyptian people, whose representatives they declared themselves to be,
142he opportunity of placing on the throne. Though we had freed Egypt from the last vestiges of Turkish domination, we had done nothing to secure the willing assent of the Egyptians to the new relationship into which we had forcibly brought them with the British Empire. Though we had poured vast amounts of money into the country and the war had ultimately brought unprecedented wealth and prosperity to Egypt as a whole, the people had suffered not only under the many restraints which are almost unavoidably incidental to a state of war, but also some grievous hardships which hit them all the harder in that we had begun by promising them completes of Alexandria, Port Said, Kantara, and Suez." In 1916, 10,463 men of the Egyptian Labour Corps,n depots and cotton markets to assis